Editor’s note: The following remarks were made regarding the “EPA Finalizes R-22 Phaseout Plan” article, written by former editor Peter Powell, published Nov. 23, 2014, in The NEWS.
I have written a similar letter to President Trump, but I wanted to make The NEWS’ audience aware, as well. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken the life blood of our industry (R-22 refrigerant) and turned it into a highly sought after and very expensive commodity. Summer is here, and R-22 pricing is going through the roof as I write this letter. A jug of R-22 that used to cost us under $100 is now $900 and rising fast. Thanks to some revised rules, the EPA has cut short supplies just as demand factors are kicking in for the summer months and beyond.
I don’t see how this expedited phaseout effort helps the United States. This creates a hardship on the very people that cannot afford to replace and/or now fix their air conditioning equipment. In places like Phoenix, Arizona, we are talking about life and death situations, and there will be death and blood on the EPA’s hands over this lack of foresight to see what this changed and accelerated schedule of a phaseout will cause to our industry and country.
This only causes theft, a black market, and encourages the sale of so-called “drop-in replacement refrigerants” that cause an existing system to lose a great deal of efficiency. Propane could even be added to a system from desperate people with catastrophic results.
For well-intentioned rules, there are always repercussions and unforeseen consequences. What do I care? I am going to charge more, right? I am seeing firsthand the results of this mindless government regulation as it tears apart a great industry. I feel blessed to be able to provide air conditioning and the fact that in our lifetimes we are able to enjoy such a thing and to be able to live comfortably in a hot desert.
Everything is coming together to make this a hot topic for this summer. I have faith the president will look into this further and do some kind of emergency order to at least revisit the phaseout plan. R-22 equipment is still in a majority of working systems, and it doesn’t seem fair to the American people to be doing this to them.
Today’s repair techniques of a leaking system include the use of sealers that have come a long way in being able to resolve a leaking refrigerant system. If these systems do not leak refrigerant (and most systems out there don’t) there is less chance this refrigerant would ever see the atmosphere and cause harm. By law, we recover refrigerant from older systems we take out of service. My concern is job site theft as this stuff becomes worth so much.
John G. Kopp, president
Ocean Air Conditioning & Heating Co.
Laguna Niguel, California
Publication date: 6/5/2017